Dime Q&A: Lamar Butler Reminisces On George Mason’s Final Four Run

02.21.14 6 years ago
Back in 2006, George Mason basketball had perhaps one of the greatest runs in the NCAA Tournament. With all the odds against them, they navigated through the tournament beating teams picked as favorites while at the same time defining a legacy. With not one NBA prospect on the squad, this team embraced the term Cinderella and showed that with the right formula anything is possible.

Led by senior guard Lamar Butler, George Mason captured the hearts of fans and proved anything is possible. We caught up with the guard to discuss everything George Mason and to take us on a stroll through memory lane. Check it out.

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Dime: What are you doing lately? Anything basketball or coaching related?
Lamar Butler: I played basketball overseas for five years then economy just started going downhill so I had to find something else. That said, I had my own sport and goods business and the website is sportsheavenusa.com. So that’s what I do now, sell equipment uniforms for teams and organizations and it’s fun.

Dime: So where exactly did you play overseas?
LB: I was in Turkey twice, Czech Republic and the D-League. I’ve been everywhere.

Dime: Okay, yeah how was it with the D-League?
LB: Umm, it’s cool if you’re like a guy in the NBA radar you know? But if not, I wouldn’t suggest going there ’cause they kinda already know who they want.

Dime: Oh okay, I never knew that, I never really knew that.
LB: Yeah, if you’re a guy trying get filmed for next year to go overseas, I would suggest doing the D-League. But, if you’re dreaming of going to the NBA I wouldn’t really [recommend] that because they pretty much already know who they want.

Dime: What team were you with in the D-League?
LB: I was with the Colorado 14ers and we had about six or seven NBA guys.

I had to get traded, ’cause you know I was barely playing once those guys came down. That team actually ended up winning the championship, of course, but I ended up in Reno.

Dime: Who were you playing with in Reno?
LB: That was on my team, David Noel–he played with the Carolina team that we beat so that was kind of fun. Also, I played with Russell Robinson from Kansas and Patrick Ewing Jr. Me and Patrick played AAU together so I had knew some guys on that team already.

Dime: Great. So let’s dive a little bit into your playing career at George Mason. How was it playing under Jim Larranaga at George Mason?
LB: Coach L is one of those guys who turn you know from a boy into a man. He held you accountable through everything you did on and off the court. He just taught you a lot about life and discipline and just to enjoy every moment. The biggest thing about Coach L was it was fun. He made playing basketball and winning fun so that was probably the biggest thing Coach L taught me while I was at George Mason.

Dime: What was your role as the senior guard on the team?
LB: Man, that’s crazy. You know no one has ever asked me that. That team, man, was so weird. Because you know my junior year, we had young guys so you know the seniors had to be leaders on the team. My senior year, you know even though we had the three captains, I would say we had six captains on the floor. I mean, it was no set person who had to lead ’cause everybody were leaders. This team was definitely the weirdest team and closet team I’ve ever been on. I can’t say we actually had captains because we all just discussed and talked about everything ’cause we were on the same page on the court and off the court. We were always together so I really can’t say what my role was except go out there and have fun on the court.

Dime: You guys were a cohesive gel? What made you guys so close to each other?
LB: Man we just clicked and we bonded. We also did everything together. I mean, if somebody was going to the grocery store we would call each other and say if anybody needed something from the grocery story. We just looked out for each other, you know. You can tell we generally loved each other off the court and it showed on the court. We always had each other’s back. Also, you know if somebody was slacking on the court, somebody would be there to step in and get in your face. No matter who you were. There was somebody to hold you accountable.

Dime: That’s cool. That’s what a team is about. But at the beginning of the season John Vaughan went down with the ACL surgery. How was it having him out?
LB: Yeah it’s crazy, I remember when he did it and I kind of knew that’s what he did. It hurt because that’s like my little brother. All through his freshman year he came in, we just kind of gravitated toward each other. It hurt to watch him go down and then not be able to play with us all year, but he was our biggest cheerleader. It was tough to watch, I never seen anyone get seriously injured like that. Three seniors actually took him to the training room that preseason, so I remember that very vividly. That was real tough.

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